Essential Oil to Repel Mosquitoes: What Oils To Use and How to Use Them

by Joshua Matzkin

Summertime promises a ton of different outdoor actives, but it also brings forth a whole host of bothersome bugs and insects such as mosquitoes. Luckily, natural repellents like essential oils hold the power to help keep bugs away! 

For certain species, their one major goal is to make feasts out of your blood. The irritating itching and the annoying buzzing sounds are hard for everyone to bear, especially when you're just trying to enjoy some time outside in nature or even a good night's rest.

They can get into your home and their tiny bite can even affect your health, by transmitting diseases such as malaria and zika. 

While mosquitoes are important to maintain ecosystems (we can't get rid of them all, unfortunately), we can keep them out of our personal space.

Certain essential oils are quite effective and helpful in repelling mosquitoes, and are a natural solution to repel insects. Many environmentally focused brands like ours are determined to develop an alternative repellant using natural ingredients to replace the commercial bug sprays with harsh chemicals.

Here we discuss some tips to using essential oils and other natural repellents for mosquitoes and which oils are most effective.

Are you having a BBQ party this summer? Don't forget your essential oils! Check out 6 ways to use essential oils at your next outdoor event.


DEET is as effective as any other natural mosquito repellent. It is easily available and has no side effects for most people. But if you have sensitive skin or any other skin problem, then it may be disastrous.

Several studies revealed that DEET has some adverse health impacts on the human body. Some research has found that DEET can even promote the growth of tumors. Other outcomes include rashes, irritation to the skin, burning lips, nausea, and headaches.

It is better to avoid DEET and use other natural mosquito repellent options. 


Essential oils are plant based, considered safe for humans, and still effective in repelling insects. Most people find that you can use various essential oils without worry, and when properly diluted, can provide relaxing results immediately, with no adverse health effects.

When using essential oils topically, always start by mixing pure essential oils in a carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba, avocado, or almond oil) before applying to the skin. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and you never want to apply directly to your skin without them being mixed and diluted first.

If you are unaware of how your skin will react to a specific essential oil (or carrier oil), start with a small amount of diluted oil to an isolated patch of skin (either on the back of the hand or on the forearm is recommended). If any irritation occurs, you may want to discontinue use of, and contact a healthcare professional. 

To make sure you dilute to the proper ratio, follow the guidelines suggested by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) recommendations.


Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella oil is one of the top essential oils to use against mosquitoes. Popularly used as an insect repellent, citronella oil is derived from the citronella plant, and can be found in candles, or can be incorporated into a bug repellent lotion. In addition to being a mosquito repellent, it can also repel other pests such as fleas, head lice, flies, ticks, and others, and is considered a mild and generally safe means of doing so.

Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Lemon eucalyptus oil also contains significant amounts of citronella and is extracted from lemon eucalyptus trees. It has a pleasant scent of lemon, which makes it a good choice for diffusing in the home. 

A large number of users found lemon eucalyptus essential oil more effective when compared with others including the Center for Disease Control. The CDC claims that the oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE or PMB) can be used as an effective repellent for mosquitoes.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is beneficial for resisting mosquitoes. It has relaxing effects to heal the itching bites of mosquitoes and is also considered safe to use on children. Mosquitoes hate the scent of lavender, which helps to limit further bites.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint has benefits to repel mosquitoes as some researchers note the oil to have a strong repellent action against adult mosquitoes when applied to human skin.

When diffused, peppermint oil can help keep mosquitoes away, and prevent everyone in your family from lots annoying of mosquito bites. Children usually love the refreshing fragrance of peppermint, and cooling sensation of peppermint oil can also provide relief and ease itching of mosquito bites.

Catnip Essential Oil

Also an effective natural repellent for mosquitoes, it is a member of the mint family that helps to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

2005 study published by the Journal of Medical Entomology examined the efficacy of catnip essential oil compared to DEET, their result shows catnip to outperform DEET. 

Tea Tree plant

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the greatest antiseptics, and it possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. An excellent choice for healing mosquito bites, you can dilute and apply tea tree oil directly to your skin after for immediate results.

A 2014 study concluded that Tree Tree oil has insecticidal and repellent effects against the species of fly used in their study.

Clary Sage Essential Oil 

The oil has a floral fragrance that can brighten your mood as it keeps the pests away. Clary sage (S. sclarea) has shown strong repellent properties according to a 2012 study, especially against the tiger mosquito (A. albopictus). You can also discourage mosquitoes from entering your home, and prevent undesirable mosquito bites, by putting the oil into a diffuser.

All of the oils mentioned above have a particular fragrance, and mosquitoes are repelled to all of these smells. Using such a scent that mosquitoes avoid discourages them from coming close.

Other scents include basil, garlic, rosemary, neem, marigold, etc. It is also important to note that insect repellents use different scents to conceal your body scent.


You can prepare a natural repellent at home to help keep bugs away by using the available essential oils and other ingredients that may already be around your home. The following are some of the naturally produced repellents that you can DIY your own, and you'll definitely want to share with everyone!

Bug Repellent Spray

First start with equal amounts of vodka and witch hazel, then add a double quantity of water to this mixture. Finally add 10 to 15 drops of essential oils (such as lavender, tea tree, and citronella) for every ounce of the mixture. Pour the liquid to a spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and your DIY bug spray is ready to use!

For best practices, shake before every use to make sure the essential oils are evenly distributed throughout the spray bottle. 

DIY Bug Repellent Ointment

For making mosquito repellent ointment, you have to melt down beeswax and coconut oil. Stir the mixture well and let it cool.

Once the liquid cools down, add between 10 to 30 drops of essential oil. Blend the mixture well and store it in the refrigerator. 

You must store your repellent in a dark blue or amber glass container. Always mix or shake the ingredients before using the repellent. 


MOXĒ aromatherapy diffusers and nasal inhalers are artfully-crafted with their signature organic essential oil blend. All organic ingredients are sourced within the United States and come from premium essential oil companies, meaning you get only the best!

Just look for one that has at least one of the essential oils mentioned above. For example, MOXĒ Dream Diffuser's main ingredient is lavender! Simply take this portable diffuser on your next outdoor adventure and stay mosquito-free

If you're interested in purchasing a high-quality and ready-to-use product then you can visit us at BE MOXĒ



While we know DEET is an effective repellent against mosquitos, multiple studies have shown DEET to be harmful to humans. This brings many of us to seek clean and natural alternatives to DEET like essential oils. Oils like lavender and peppermint are great for mosquito repellents, and many experts recommend them as they do not appear to cause any know human toxicity after dilution. 

Whether applied topically, sprayed, or diffused through a room diffuser, the essential oils highlighted above can make your summer nights worry-free and bug-free.

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